|A partnership that began in 2012 among the Bureau of Land Management Cody Field Office, Marathon Oil Corporation and Friends of a Legacy (FOAL) continues to achieve successes toward its goal of improving water sources for the benefit of wild horses, wildlife and livestock inside the McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Herd Management Area (HMA) east of Cody, Wyoming.
Most recently, the group partnered with Park County and Big Horn County weed and pest districts to treat Russian olive and saltcedar on 900 acres of public land along Dry Creek. The invasive plants were sprayed with herbicide, beginning at the bridge where U.S. Highway 14/16/20 crosses Dry Creek approximately 21 miles east of Cody, and continuing downstream to the east.Russian olive and saltcedar, both designated as noxious weeds by the Wyoming Weed and Pest Council, create numerous negative impacts on river function, native plant and wildlife species, wildlife habitat, and water quality and quantity. By removing these water-loving plants, wild horses, wildlife and livestock will benefit from more water in the creek and the space created for native vegetation to flourish.
“We are so appreciative of FOAL and Marathon Oil for the progress we continue to make along the Dry Creek drainage,” said BLM Assistant Field Manager Delissa Minnick. “And the recent Russian olive and saltcedar treatments would not have been possible without the additional contributions of herbicides and work crews from Park County and Big Horn County weed and pest districts.”
Treatments are expected to continue this spring, and re-treatments to spray re-growths will be needed in future years. In addition, tall, mature tamarisk in the area will be mulched using a skidsteer with a masticator attachment.
“FOAL is dedicated to and honored to be a partner in reducing the impact of invasive species in the HMA for the benefit of all of the flora and fauna that depend on the Dry Creek drainage,” said Warren Murphy, president of FOAL.
Projects completed by the Dry Creek Water Augmentation partners over the past few years include the identification of viable water supply alternatives; installation and testing of two shallow water supply wells along Dry Creek; purchase and installation of solar powered pumps; construction of a 2.5-mile long water delivery system; and the improvement of several reservoirs in the HMA, which are critical for capturing spring snow melt.
Future plans include the construction of a second pipeline and installation of various points of use for the delivered water including guzzlers, reservoirs, watering basins and wetlands along the pipelines for water storage and distribution to wildlife.
Marathon Oil has operated in this area since 1917 and has partnered with the BLM on numerous resource improvement projects. To ensure the success of the Dry Creek Water Augmentation Project, Marathon Oil has secured grants and provided funding to the National Wild Turkey Federation to implement fieldwork and construction projects.
“We’re grateful for the partnerships we have with these groups,” said Environmental Professional Mike Williams with Marathon Oil’s Wyoming Asset Team. “Such successful water augmentation in the Dry Creek drainage wouldn’t have been possible without the significant collaborative input and commitment that each organization brings to the project.”
FOAL is a non-profit wild horse advocacy organization that has been partnering with the BLM under a separate MOU since 2006 to coordinate and cooperate on opportunities for public education, to enhance habitat for all creatures living within the McCullough Peaks HMA and to assist the BLM in managing the McCullough Peaks wild horses.
FOAL has received grants from the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust and the Park County Winter Recreation Coalition Fund (held by the Wyoming Community Foundation) that have contributed to the success of the Dry Creekheld by the Wyoming Community Foundation Water Augmentation Project.
“On-going collaboration focused on improving the habitat and the availability of water resources is very important,” said FOAL Executive Director Marion Morrison. “We’re seeing great results due to the significant contributions of expertise, resources, and passion from every member of this partnership.”
It is hoped the partnership will continue to grow with the addition of new participants and public involvement. The partners hope to enlist volunteers in the future to plant native species along Dry Creek to further improve habitat. For more information, or to participate in Dry Creek habitat enhancement work, please contact BLM Wild Horse Specialist Tricia Hatle at 307-578-5900.
|The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2014, the BLM generated $5.2 billion in receipts from public lands.
|–BLM–Cody Field Office 1002 Blackburn Street Cody, WY 82414